No matter if you’re just starting out and looking for a user-facing website for your business or you need a revamped website, this is one of the first questions you’re likely to have as a potential WordPress website owner. How much does it cost to have this website built for me? Unfortunately, the answer is not a one-liner like the question. Ask any two developers or any two development agencies and you’re likely to get at least four different quotes. There is no good way for most business owners to know which bids are in the right ballpark.
In this article, I will try to outline the factors I as a developer consider when receiving a request for a new WordPress website quote. If you’re looking for a bottom line with a price attached to it, you’re not going to find one here.
If low cost is what you want
Let’s start with the basics.
- A .com domain name will cost you around $10/year. I recommend Namecheap.com. (affiliate link)
- A shared hosting environment will cost between $5 and $15 per month. I recommend Nexcess (no, no GoDaddy please)
- A VPS will cost you anywhere between $5 and $50 per month, depending on your traffic. I recommend Digital Ocean ( click here to get $10 in credit)
- WordPress is free and so are the majority of the plugins you’ll need
- WordPress themes come in a variety of prices, ranging from free to premium
So if you need to just have a simple website with not much traffic, using a free theme and a handful of freely-available plugins, you can get away with a total investment of $70/year, assuming you have a bit of technical knowhow to install WordPress on your hosting, activate a theme and some plugins as needed.
Custom development costs money, but has its benefits
So now let’s explore the option of creating a design that’s suited specifically for your requirements. There are obvious advantages to using a custom theme rather than relying on a free alternative.
- Your brand is unique so therefore so should your website. A custom theme means no one else will have the same design.
- A custom theme is built for you, so it will have no extras you don’t need and everything that you do. This increases performance since your theme does not need to load any extra code that your website is not using at all.
Before setting a price, I always ask some questions to help me understand the requirements. These range from whether you have graphics and content already prepared, if you need multimedia elements on the site (such as audio and video embeds), social sharing and newsletter signup and what type of content your website will have. Perhaps you need a calendar of events or you want to list real estate properties on your WordPress website.Your users deserve the top-notch experience that only a custom WordPress theme that’s continuously maintained can deliver. Click To Tweet
Every feature you require will obviously influence the price. But what you need to ask yourself is what is the added benefit for my users for each feature I add? If they are that much more likely to trust your brand, buy your services and products and spread the word about their experience using your website, then the cost of developing that feature is well justified.
Continued website maintenance is a must
As your website grows, your users might start to experience a slower website. If you’re the one responsible for upgrading and maintaining your website, you might find yourself using your precious time to maintain WordPress instead of running your business. If you don’t want to worry about things such as upgrading the WordPress core, installing the right plugins or optimising the custom theme, then you should consider offloading these tasks to a developer.
The developer’s task is to work with you on figuring out what you need in terms of functionality and how to best deliver that, whether it is through an existing plugin or developing one from scratch. They will be in charge of providing the necessary ongoing training for you and your staff so that you can easily navigate your way through the daily tasks you are most likely to encounter with WordPress, especially entering and editing content.
They will also potentially be in charge of continuously maintaining their work, constantly improving your users’ experience.
Is the thought that your website is secured and up to date and that your users are getting the best experience possible giving you peace of mind to work on what your business is actually about? Then that’s something definitely worth paying for.
I know I promised not to tell you a bottom line, but here’s the punch. If you’re willing to spend between $1,000 and $3,000+, then you deserve a custom theme, with SEO, mobile responsive, built on the latest HTML5 standards, with on-going support from the developer. You deserve the security that your WordPress website benefits from a theme that is future-proof, with most of the custom functionality integrated in a plugin instead of the theme.
Your users deserve the top-notch experience that only a custom WordPress theme that’s continuously maintained can deliver.
No one visits a website any more. Just because they’re not walking through your store’s front door, doesn’t mean your users don’t want an experience online that rivals what they would get in the store. So if they don’t expect a website, why would you ask me to build one?
You need to understand that I, as a developer, am not here to turn your design into code, constantly churning out lines of code, day in day out. A decent developer will provide you with a website that won’t break in the next update of the WordPress core. A professional will give you performance advice, suggestions for your designs, how to convert users online, which plugins to use and why. All of this will convert into customer satisfaction, which will, in turn, convert into a better bottom line for you and your business.
Is that something worth paying $X for?